About the strategy group
This group supports and enhances the mandate of Jisc in negotiating software agreements and recognises the collective UK interest in negotiations concerning acquisition and use of software.
It focuses on setting the principles, objectives and strategy for UK university agreements and associated negotiations with vendors of software packages, platforms and services.
The strategy will better leverage the scale of the sector spend to obtain value for money for the sector and individual institutions. The group will develop an agreed set of "conditions of satisfaction" for vendors, solutions and sector sub-groups.
The group's approach aligns with the sectors strategic goals including those identified by UUK's strategic plan 2018-23: world-leading impact (pdf) in which UK universities will provide opportunity, have impact, be trusted, be global leaders and be autonomous in their decision making and strategies.
Strategy group members
The UUK/Jisc software negotiation strategy group members includes:
- Chair - Professor John Latham CBE, vice-chancellor, University of Coventry
- Mark Allinson, director of IT services, Edge Hill University
- Bella Abrams, director of information technology, University of Sheffield
- Nathalie Czechowski, chief information officer, University of South Wales
- Oliver Davy, chief digital officer, University of Derby
- Dr Mark Ferrar, chief information officer, University of Newcastle
- Deborah Green, chief executive, UCISA
- Gavin McLachan, vice principal and chief information officer, and librarian to the university, University of Edinburgh
- Michael McLaughlin, head of category – information services, APUC
- Jason Oliver, director of IT, University of Sussex
- Emma Woodcock, chief information officer, York St John University
Terms of reference
All UK universities and the diversity of size, income, approaches, ambitions, strategies, students, academic and professional service colleagues contained within those institutions.
Universities across the UK are collectively spending hundreds of millions of pounds on software applications which support teaching, learning, research and administration.
Both the cost of these applications and their strategic importance to the core mission of universities means that there is a collective UK interest in the negotiations concerning their acquisition and use.
The group focuses on setting the principles, objectives and strategy for UK university agreements and associated negotiations with vendors of software packages, platforms and services.
"Software" in this context means computer software (or "application") that is licensed (not bought) and installed on devices managed by the licensee or computer software accessed through a subscription to a Software as a Service (SaaS or so-called "cloud") offering.
Such software may be "packaged" or "streamed" or made available or accessed over any network through one or more "as a Service" mechanism including, but not limited to related Infrastructure (IaaS), Platform (PaaS) or Software (SaaS) via any User Interface (UI) or Application Programming Interface (API).
The group will set overarching messages and strategies which will inform the approach taken by Jisc's negotiators.
The group will escalate national matters of broader importance and impact to UUK board.
- Develop and advance strategy for the negotiation of agreements which better leverage the scale of the sector as a whole for the benefit of the sector and each individual institution, and provide value for money access to software applications across UK universities
- Develop and advance an agreed sector wide set of "conditions of satisfaction", or set of conditions for each vendor, solution type and sector sub-group, to capture the value foundation for sector wide agreements
- Identify priority vendors where a national approach to negotiations will bring the greatest benefits to students, researchers and universities
- Provide leadership for national negotiations
- Help facilitate discussions between the negotiation team and the sector (university leaders, researchers, administration and funders) for the agreement, communication, oversight and reporting on objectives, strategy, tactics and progress of negotiations
- Facilitate debate and action to help implement solutions to challenges in the adoption, utilisation and management of software across and within universities
- Oversee the negotiation process on behalf of the UK academic community, and where circumstances merit it, directly participate in negotiations
- Advise Jisc on the acceptability or otherwise of proposals
- Evaluate options in the event that negotiations do not proceed as planned and further action from the sector may be required to achieve an acceptable agreement
- Align with the sector’s strategic goals including those identified by UUK
- Vice chancellor - Chair
- Chief information officers from a cross section of institutions
- Universities UK
- Chief executive, or their delegate, from UCISA
- Representation from England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales
- Representation from procurement bodies
The term of office for group members is two years with the likelihood of an additional term of up to two years upon the expiry of the first term. This would be considered if the member wishes to extend their term and be determined the by chair of the group and Jisc.
The decision would take into account whether the member has normally been able to attend meetings and ensure that terms of office ended at different times to prevent a large change in membership at any one time.
Meetings and administration
Four meetings per annum of roughly 2-3 hours, all meetings will be scheduled for the entirety of the coming year in advance.
Whilst the default approach of the group will be to communicate as transparently and openly as possible, given the subject matter, the group will decide what information about their work can be shared with the organisations that they represent, their institutions and other colleagues such as professional groups with whom they have links and would normally be open within the sector about non-confidential matters.
Where there is strategic benefit in sharing confidential papers or their content with sector groups this will be advised when papers are distributed. In this situation the papers and their content remain confidential in the sense they may not be shared further by those they are shared with and those who receive them should be informed of this.
Detailed strategy and tactics and sensitive confidential information remain confidential to this group.
Members of the group will be asked to sign a non-disclosure agreement for commercially confidential information received as a result of membership of the group. All items subject to an NDA will be flagged in advance.
Jisc will be responsible for the preparation and distribution of the agenda and papers:
- Agenda and Papers will be circulated no less than one week prior to meetings
- Action list will be circulated no more than two weeks after meetings
The group's time is more effectively used if information/papers are circulated and read in advance, so that time in meetings is given to discussion of issues and actions rather than sharing information.
Minutes of meetings will be succinct and provide a summary of all items discussed and confirm decisions and agreed actions. Timeliness and traceability are the emphasis rather than production of a narrative record of discussions.
Communication and administration will be supported via a closed Teams site. This will facilitate discussion and information sharing outside meetings plus easy access to documents etc.